Stung Treng prepares for bridge dismantling

Source: Phnom Penh Post

Villagers protest last month against authorities for attempting to dismantle the Sre Pok Bridge ahead of a test run of the Lower Sesan II hydropower dam in Stung Treng province. Photo supplied

Stung Treng provincial authorities have vowed to demolish the Sre Pok Bridge ahead of the testing of the Lower Sesan II dam – which will submerge a number of villages – and warned that police will be deployed should villagers protest.

Provincial Deputy Governor Duong Pov yesterday visited a village in Kbal Romea commune, one of two communities refusing to relocate to resettlement sites, to explain to villagers about the coming flood and the need to dismantle the bridge, provincial hall spokesman Men Kong said.

“We want the villagers to work together to demolish the bridge because it will be flooded,” Kong said.

Kong added that some villagers are unconvinced there was a need to dismantle the bridge.

According to Pov, the bridge will be dismantled this week. “We must do it by this week and will employ forces if there is a protest,” Pov explained. “We will not arrest them if they don’t do anything beyond what the law permits.”

According to Pov, the construction of the bridge had cost the government almost $1 million, and the materials will be used to build other bridges after its demolition.

Dam Samnang, a representative for Kbal Romea, said a protest was likely if the bridge, which is on the main route to the provincial capital for the villagers, was to be dismantled.

“The bridge is very important to use for crossing every day,” Samnang said. “The authorities should erect another one to replace it before demolishing.”

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